Ex-Williamson mayor pleads guilty in federal court

Rachel Dove rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

May 12, 2014

Staff report

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former Williamson mayor Darrin McCormick pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Thursday to lying to federal officials.

McCormick admitted to lying to the FBI and IRS during an investigation into suspicious banking activity conducted by a company called Aracoma Contracting and the Bank of Mingo.

McCormick, whose sentencing is set for August, is out of jail on bond. Under the conditions of his bond, McCormich is permitted to cross the border into Eastern Kentucky.

McCormick resigned from the position of mayor, effective May 1, the day before evidence was made public about the part he allegedly played in the crime that was committed.

McCormick is the former manager of the Bank of Mingo’s Williamson branch, and had served in that position for many years. McCormick was off on administrative leave with pay for nearly nine months before being terminated by the bank. He was placed on leave after the investigation into alleged worker’s compensation fraud and other suspicious banking activities began.

Last month, federal prosecutors charged McCormick, saying he made a false statement on Feb. 19, 2013, to an FBI agent and an agent with the Internal Revenue Service about the bank investigation involving Aracoma Contracting.

FBI agents seized several computer hard drives and documents related to Aracoma Contracting in 2013 from the bank’s Williamson branch, which was being overseen by McCormick at the time - as part of a probe that has resulted in jail sentences for a former BrickStreet Insurance auditor and four contract coal company officials.

In February of this year, Aracoma was sentenced to three years probation, ordered to pay $4 million in restitution and forfeit $405,000 for its role in a scheme involving the bank. FBI Special Agent James Lafferty has stated in federal court documents that he thought McCormick helped Aracoma in a structuring scheme.

No information has yet been released about the length of the possible prison sentence McCormick will receive, if any. Additional information will be made available to the media and to the public following the plea hearing.

McCormick was replaced as mayor of Williamson by local attorney, Steve Knopp, who presided over his first council meeting last Thursday.